I build quite a few printed circuit boards (PCB) in my home workshop. I don't have the best lighting on my desk. I find that after a short time of squinting at the 0.8mm drill bit going up and down, through the boards, that I have a cracker of a headache. It's probably time to get glasses, however in a vain attempt to stave off acknowledging my age I have addressed the poor lighting issue.
I have added a simple aluminium support and a short strip of 12V LED lighting to my Dremel drill stand. It's made a big difference to the comfort of drilling a few hundred holes in a sitting.
The LED lighting assembly is made from a few scraps of aluminium bar, a left over end of a LED lighting strip, some wire, a few nuts & bolts and a couple of cable ties.
Refer to the end of this article for a list of materials and tools required to complete the project.
Step 1: How
On the left side of the drill stand are a couple of mounting brackets used to hold the depth guide when it is in used. The depth guide mount is a rattling good fit for a 3/16 bolt and has sufficient strength to hold the light weight aluminium frame used here. It also allows the frame to be mounted above the working surface so that there are no extra embuggerances when moving the work piece around under the drill.
The frame is semi articulated to allow for optimal light positioning.
The frame is made up of three sections. The main LED Light Bar, a Swing Arm and a Mounting Bracket.
Step 2: Making the Frame - LED Light Bar
Before cutting the lengths, while the aluminium bar is in one piece, it is a good time to create the curved front light bar section. The extra length provides leverage during shaping.
Using the vice or pliers, add many small bends at close intervals so that a curved section of aluminium about 120-150mm long is produced, with a bend diameter of approximately 150mm.
A short straight section, at one end of the LED Light Bar, is used as the join to the Swing Arm.
Step 3: Making the Frame - Swing Arm
A bolt hole is drilled in each end and de-burred.
Then 15mm from each end the bar is bent to approximately 10 degrees. This is so that the Swing Arm provides a offset mount for the LED Light Bar.
Step 4: Making the Frame - Mounting Bracket
A short piece of bar, about 50mm, is cut, drilled and shaped to make a mounting bracket. Notice that one end has a slight angle to match the shape of the drill press in the vicinity of the depth gauge mount.
Once the holes are drilled out to size, a larger drill bit can be used by hand to de-burr the holes.
A file is also used to remove burrs and sharp edges.
Step 5: Making the LED Light Bar - Electrical Connections
A section of wire is attached to the LED strip, secured with cable ties and terminated for easy attachment to a 12v DC supply.
Soldering the LED strip is not complex but requires some care. Good preparation gives a good result.
Start with the wires.
- The wires are stripped of their insulation for 3-4mm.
- Some alcohol on a disposable wipe is used to clean the exposed wire and flux is applied.
- The exposed wires are tinned with a small amount of solder.
- The LED strip is cut to the required length, to match the aluminium light bar.
- A small section of the water proofing gel is removed, to expose the terminals.
- The terminals on the LED strip are cleaned and fluxed.
- A small amount of solder is used to tin the terminals.
Now that the LED strip and wires are tinned, place a wire against its terminal and apply heat with the soldering iron. There should be sufficient solder on the two components to allow the solder to flow and a joint to form easily.
Do this for each terminal and wire.
If you have the resources a small section of heat shrink over the exposed solder joints will provide a level of protection. Otherwise a short section of electrical tape will suffice.
Step 6: Making the LED Light Bar - Assembly
- Remove the backing tape from the LED strip.
- Starting from the end with the connections, press the LED strip onto the inside of the light bar.
- Secure the wires with a cable tie so that their weight and movement doesn't pull the LED strip off the aluminium.
Step 7: Assembly (Putting It All Together)
- Using the 5/16" bolts and nuts, attach the LED Light Bar to the Swing Arm.
- Similarly attach the mounting bracket.
- Secure the power cable to the Swing Arm with a cable tie.
- Attach the entire assembly to the Dremel drill press with another 5/16 bolt.
Step 8: List of Materials and Tools (What You Need)
- Aluminium bar, ~300mm length, 3mm * 12mm
- 3 of 3/16" * 1/2" bolt and nut.
- LED lighting strip, water proof, approximately 120mm
- Wire, approximately 2m.
- Power supply, 12v DC.
- Heat shrink or electrical tape.
- Cable ties
- Electronics solder
- Isopropol Alcohol
- Disposable wipes
- Bench Vice
- Pistol Drill or Drill press
- 5.5mm or 1/4" drill bit
- Soldering iron (Temperature controlled, suitable for electronics work)
- Packet of matches
Step 9: Conclusion (Power Up)
On power up I had a feeling of success and a bit of a smile to myself. Only the dog was around to congratulate me on the outcome. Still it was worth while.